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Tesco Cooks Up a Heartfelt Story

July 2023

This is a self-funded case study using our ad testing solution.

Amidst the tantalizing aromas of a sizzling hot summer BBQ, Tesco’s latest spot captured a truly heart-warming family moment. Telling the story of an estranged couple who set aside their differences to create an unforgettable summer memory for their adorable young daughter, the family reunites over a feast made possible through Tesco’s finest produce.

Defying typical grocery category conventions, Tesco hasn’t been one to shy away from addressing hard-hitting personal topics. The brand’s ‘Food Love Stories’ platform features the stories of an ever-growing list of life events faced by many — whether that be helping a friend through an unfortunate fake tan or caring for a sick grandchild. The wider campaign proudly highlights how the grocery retailer brings a little magic and helps make any situation better.

But while the series has generally adopted a fun and jovial tone of voice, the much more sensitive nature of the topic underpinning the BBQ installment saw the campaign veer in a different direction. How did people respond to this pivot?

The emotional, heart-warming story was appreciated for its relatability, touching on a largely overlooked but prevalent topic. Although not adopting a particularly high energy and up-beat tempo, its focus on real people and real-world issues elicited a level of emotional warmth. While showcasing the power of storytelling, for some the satiric ending felt a little forced and contrived, missing the opportunity to resolve the build-up of tension in the most uplifting and inspiring manner possible.

The tantalizing, gourmet food depicted was the facilitator of the story’s eventual resolve, helping elevate consideration levels. However, the ad also represented a sidestep from Tesco’s typically fun and light-hearted style, subsequently impeding its level of synergy with how people think and feel about the brand. Together with the ad adopting limited structural devices which unmistakably link to the brand, the resulting connection back to Tesco was hindered.

In a world where a trip to the grocery store can sometimes feel a little cold and impersonal, Tesco's ‘Food Love Stories’ reminds us that the simple act of gathering around a fresh home cooked meal can ignite powerful emotions and bring families closer together. However, emotion is only one — albeit essential — ingredient for creating effective advertising. With the BBQ dinner execution feeling like a shift from the largely light-hearted approach of the wider series, adopting greater consistency across each execution will help strengthen familiarity and amplify campaign synergies.

Tesco Food Love Stories - Ad Testing metrics - Cubery Market Research

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